Qazi Jamshed A Siddiqui
A fascinating proposal is working its way through legislative process. A bill to introduce evening courts in Islamabad has been drafted and will be ready for presentation soon. At present the judiciary is burdened with a backlog of almost 2600 cases per judge by some calculations. This idea of Evening Courts is a good suggestion to improve access to justice and speedy disposal of undecided cases lingering even since independence. Secondly outmoded civil and criminal procedures which were written more than 100 years ago, need to be updated and brought in to the needs of 21st century. A few key issues are repeatedly mentioned for delay in disposal of justice. One of the attitude of the judges and lawyers towards adjournment of cases, which are generously granted because the daily case load is usually too heavy and incentives repeated postponement of hearings.
Technology can play a vital role, not only in the scheduling of hearings or in making the record of other relevant cases readily available but also in helping locate bottle necks in the existing system. Evening Courts can certainly help in addressing the problems of massive backlog but simply increasing the number of judges or the amount of hours that courts operate will not enough. Cooperation and healthy coordination between Bench and Bar is also play key role in streamlining the existing tiresome legal procedure. The lawyers should curtain the tendency of going on strikes on minor issues as well. However Evening Courts should be welcomed as a revolutionary step in the right direction.